St. Catherine of Genoa (b. 1447) was an utterly unique and inspiring mystic. After close to a decade of an unhappy and essentially arranged marriage, she experienced a powerful conversion: while kneeling before her confessor, a vision came upon her. Pope Benedict described it: “‘I received,’ as she herself writes, ‘a wound in my heart of the immense love of God,’ and such a clear vision of her miseries and defects, and at the same time of the goodness of God, that she almost fainted.”
St. Catherine of Genoa inspires for many reasons: for the strength of heart it must have taken as a married woman in the 15th century to take up the cross of a total conversion of her life to God; because of her vivid visionary experiences; and because, despite the intensity of her interior life of prayer, she lived her entire life dedicated to her fellow people as the director of the local hospital.
Her quote above echoes Augustine, reminding us that the Good and Goodness exist as something more than concepts in our minds: they are a part of the fabric of the reality that God created for us–and when we participate in the Good, we are partaking of God’s love for us.